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Who will be the best value signing of the offseason?

Go ahead, put a dollar sign on the muscle-

Kevin C. Cox

Over the weekend the Dodgers picked up Paul Maholm on a one-year, $1.5 million deal, which looks like an incredible steal in a world where Bronson Arroyo costs $23.4 million over two years. At 31, age is firmly on Maholm’s side, but alas, he doesn’t project quite as well as the nearly 37 year-old Arroyo. Steamer see Maholm contributing just one win above replacement next season, while Arroyo is projected for 1.2. We are still pegging the $/WAR rate at $5.1 million per 0.1 WAR, right? Am I off on that?

Even if you love Bronson Arroyo, which I do, and you occasionally forget that Paul Maholm exists, which is also something I do, you have to figure that the Dodgers probably got the better deal here. Even if all that Maholm does is live up to his modest projections and he earns all of the $5 million in incentives his deal allows for, he might be the free agent value of the offseason, a no-risk, modest-reward bet in a market gone cuckoo for Coco Crisp. Should he reach the audacious heights of his slightly-better-than-league average 2012, he would make the entire McDonald’s value menu look like taking out a lease on a Lamborghini. Wait, he was better than league-average just a season ago? Maybe today’s question should be why does everyone hate Paul Maholm?

No. That is interesting, but it is a side bar to the larger question here. After all, even the biggest contract can be a value-deal if the player exceeds his own high standards which led him to earn that payday (SPOILER ALERT- this exact statement will also be the worst line on Jay-Z’s next album). So, who do you think will be the best free agent value-purchase of this offseason?

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